A return of 800,000-plus chum to Puget Sound and Hood Canal will let the good times roll for anglers well into the holiday months.
Chum, better known as dog salmon for their gnarly looking jawline at spawning time, are one of the hardest fighting fish and can feel like a king salmon when hooked on the end of a line.
Those targeting chums will be glad to know that some of the traditional hot spots are giving up some early chums, and it will only get better in the next few weeks as that is the peak time to be out there wetting aline for them in Hood Canal and for chum returning south of Kingston.
Some early chum have already shown up in catches around estuaries off Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, Johns Creek in Oakland Bay and the Hoodsport Hatchery in Hood Canal.
Here is a rundown from the creel checks that showed chum in catches:
Chico Creek estuary in Dyes Inlet — Oct. 14: Three anglers caught no fish; Oct. 15: Two caught no fish; Oct. 17: One caught no fish; Oct. 18: 20 caught two chum; Oct. 19: 18 caught one chum; Oct. 20: 10 caught four chum.
Curly Creek estuary near Southworth — Oct. 14: Six anglers caught two chum; Oct. 16: Two caught one chum; Oct. 20: Four caught one coho and two chum.
Hoodsport shoreline, Hood Canal — Oct. 18: Six anglers caught one chum; Oct. 19: 21 caught 12 chum; Oct. 20: 14 caught three chum.
Hartstene Island shoreline — Oct. 20: One angler caught three chum.
Johns Creek estuary in Oakland Bay —Oct. 18: 14 anglers caught one chum.
Tahuya ramp, Hood Canal — Oct. 17: One boats with three anglers caught 12 chum.
Kennedy Creek estuary in Totten Inlet — Oct. 18: Three anglers caught no fish; Oct. 19: 17 caught seven chum; Oct. 20: Four caught no fish.
Other good places to try for chum are North Bay near Allyn, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet, Whatcom Creek in Bellingham, McLane Creek, Eagle Creek south of Potlatch State Park, and the public-access shores off Highway 101 from Eldon to Hoodsport.